Budget 2014: $5 million cardiac lab delivered

File pic

File pic

THE federal government has delivered on its election promises to Indi and Farrer, including funding for the $5 million Border cardiac laboratory.

While Liberal MP for Farrer Sussan Ley welcomed the budget as fair, Indi independent Cathy McGowan was concerned about the $7 GP co-payment and changes to welfare.

Ms McGowan said the budget showed strong financial management, but stopped short of endorsing it.

She said she would consult constituents before her formal budget response in Parliament in three weeks’ time.

The cardiac catheter lab was the big-ticket election promise for both electorates secured by Ms Ley and former Liberal MP for Indi Sophie Mirabella.

Funding was also confirmed for the Albury-Wod­onga headspace centre for youth mental health, as part of $14.9 million over four years for 10 sites nationwide.

Ms Ley said she expected the Border headspace could open by December.

“I’ve already had the team in to Albury and they’ve given feedback on what we need,” she said.

“Gateway Health is the lead agency to implement it, but the money is there for them to do that.”

On-going funding for the $70 million Border cancer centre was also re-confirmed.

In Indi, $150,000 promised for a Bright hospital up-grade feasibility study appears to have been raised to $200,000.

Funds of $1.2 million to improve roads in Indigo and $50,000 for CCTV cameras in Myrtleford — both promised by Mrs Mirabella — were also confirmed.

“People were worried that we were going to get punished (for defeating Mrs Mirabella), but I don’t think that’s going to happen,” Ms McGowan said.

She was also pleased $100 million had been committed to fix mobile phone blackspots, but feared the GP co-payment would damage the health system, particularly public hospitals.

Ms McGowan said she was concerned about the re-introducing work-for-the-dole and restricting young people’s access to Newstart, given Indi already had high youth unemployment and too few education opportunities.

“I’m going to undertake electorate-wide consultation on this,” she said.

“We’ll be out there asking what the major issues in the budget are for people,” she said. “I’ll reserve my judgment until I hear people’s opinion.”

Asked how she would pitch the budget to Farrer constituents, Ms Ley said: “Overwhelmingly it’s a fair budget”.

“For the good of the country, this budget is necessary and I believe everyone equally and fairly shares the pain.”

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